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Acre-Feet Lesson

The 16,000 acre-feet that are being lost every day is enough water for the whole city of Madera for 9-months.

Jun 07, 2017

The dam managers in California are trying to balance the water coming into reservoirs with what they release down the rivers.  There's still a lot of snowmelt in the mountains and there has to be enough room in the reservoirs or the managers lose control.  Here's a brief look at Millerton Lake/Friant Dam:

Millerton holds up to 520,000 acre feet.  Remember an acre-foot is enough water for a family of four to use in a year.  Tuesday Millerton held 422,000 acre-feet.  Roughly 32,000 acre-feet were flowing into the lake, while 26,000 acre-feet were being released every 24 hours.  So, 26,000 acre-feet of water is being released down the river of which farmers are using roughly 10,000 acre-feet to irrigate and the other 16,000 acre-feet are being released to to make sure there is enough room for future runoff coming into the lake.  The 16,000 acre-feet that are being lost every day is enough water for the whole city of Madera for 9-months.  We're releasing it in one day.  We will continue to release that much or more water every day for the forseeable future.  

Other reservoirs up and down the state are in similar situations.  There is nowhere to put this water and while we watch this play out every day, the water bureaucrats in Sacramento continue to debate whether we need more storage.  

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